COLUMN:Fun, sun and pink eye

Tim Paluch

I don’t know about any of you, but I was getting pretty pumped about this whole Spring Break deal.

I did all my research – watching MTV’s “Spring Break Uncensored,” reading – and gathered the two necessary supplies for what promised to be a successful Spring Break trip; full of fun, sun and, if all went according to plan, a little bit of debauchery:

1. The latest NOW compilation CD, featuring Shaggy, Linkin Park and the chanting Gregorian Monks (with their No. 1 hit, “Oops, I’m talking again”).

2. A visor, that, after a dozen margaritas that would floor Ozzy Osbourne, will be turned both backwards AND upside-down. This, I gathered from “Carmen Electra’s Dance Party,” is what the ladies like.

Unfortunately, my big Spring Break plans fell through. After squandering my savings on a few “luxuries” this past year – like rent and groceries – I was not able to afford a trip to an exotic locale like Cancun, Fort Lauderdale or Dubuque.

I will, however, be visiting the lovely beaches of Orland Park, Ill. Of course, by “lovely” I mean “somewhat comfortable,” and by “beaches” I mean “living room of my parents’ house.”

Now I know Orland Park doesn’t sound exotic or fun or exciting, or even remotely interesting for that matter. But trust me, it really is exactly like it sounds. Which means I’ve all but abandoned my Spring Break 2002 goals – get stomach pumped in backseat of Mexican taxi; defy odds and make it back to the States STD-free.

As for those of you who do have big plans this Spring Break, keep in mind that, next to getting on TV, safety is the most important thing. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, there is actually a point when the human body cannot support any more alcohol and will stop functioning. Unless you are in Motley Crue.

You know you’ve had too much to drink, and should probably return home early when:

You open your mouth to say “No officer, I haven’t been drinking,” but all that comes out is six hours worth of Mai Tais and the two churros you had for breakfast.

You wake up with a “Manuel” tattoo on your arm, and the scruffy fella you don’t recognize lying next to you has your name on his arm.

One minute you’re grinding to Nelly on a foam-filled dance floor, and the next minute it’s May and you’re serving three to five years for defecating from a bridge and engaging in public intercourse with that dog from the Taco Bell commercial.

And according to a recent Associated Press story, a fast-spreading bacteria that has caused pink eye among as many as 1,000 Dartmouth College and Princeton University will likely spread across the country after infected students exchange bodily fluids with uninfected students during Spring Break.

Suddenly I’m not as upset anymore. I’ll be sleeping `til noon, catching up on reruns of “Designing Women,” and spending more time in bed than Shannon Tweed in a late-night Cinemax movie block; while you’re in Cancun drinking like it’s a Ted Kennedy St. Paddy’s Day party, and there’s more vomiting than the backstage buffet at a supermodel convention. And now, chances are you’re coming home with pink eye.

So enjoy your week off. Soak up the sun. Learn what no mas means.

I’ll be on the couch.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.